Thank you Scott for the gentle kick in the pants…here is to new leaves and all that stuff.
These people who followed Jesus were a odd bunch. Commoners mostly. A few fishermen, a tax collector and an assorted number of other people from different backgrounds. A potpouri of the ordinary. What amazed me is that they didn’t get Jesus. In fact, they looked more lost most of the time than the crowds who thronged around Jesus. What I can’t understand is how Jesus stood to be with them as long as he was. I mean, they constantly had their hand out. Wanted to be fed and wanted to have places of honor in some future kingdom and wanted to understand what Jesus was doing and what his teaching meant. Couldn’t they get it for themselves?
You know, I shouldn’t’ make a blanket statement about his followers. there was this one group who were with Jesus. They were comprised of women like Mary Magedelene, Salome, Mary the mother of James, Martha as well as others. They too followed Jesus as he left Galilee, but something was very much different about them. They looked after Jesus. Took care of his needs and ministered to him. Why, one poured an expensive bottle of perfume upon his feet at a dinner party. Others fixed him meals and made sure he was receiving respite time from the demanding crowds. Yes there was something very different about them. Instead of always looking for something from him, they spent their days looking for something to do for him. And it continued to the very end.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Jesus hanging on that cruel cross about to die. The rest of the disciples having scattered to the hinterlands like mice in a kitchen when the door opens. They feared for their lives and made haste in seeking the safety and shelter of other places. But not these faithful women. No sir, there they were standing near the cross the entire time. Not about to leave their Teacher. They were ministering to him through their very presence. It must have been such a support to Jesus during this horrible time to know that not everyone had left him alone to die. They watched their entire thing and then followed his body to the tomb to make sure it was being cared for properly and that they could find the tomb later. Amazing courage, these faithful ones. Amazing.
And as you would suspect at this point, who was it out on Saturday evening purchasing burial spices to place on Jesus’ body? And who were the ones up before the crack of dawn heading to the tomb to prepare the body for final rest? There they were, those faithful women: Mary Magdelene, Salome, Mary the mother of James hurrying to the tomb without a clue how they would role the large stone that had been rolled in front. All they knew or cared about was that Jesus had a need, and they were determined to take care of it. Wow, these faithful ones.
When they arrived, the women found the tomb empty…this was not a good thing…they suspected that someone had rolled the stone away and had taken Jesus. In fact, Mary Magdelene went inside the tomb and saw two angels sitting where Jesus’ feet and head would have been. She began to weep. “Woman, why are your weeping”, the angels asked? She ansered, “because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.” He deserves a proper burial. I will not allow him to be demeaned in death as he was so often in life she must have thought. We are determined to take care of him. We love our teacher.
And suddenly, she felt someone behind her. A man standing before her asked again, “Woman, why are you weeping.” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said frantically at this point, “sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away.” For you don’t understand, all I want to do is to care for him. All we want to do is give back a small portion of what he has done for us. Please tell me where he is. She was completely melting down with grief and fear.
And then she heard the words, “Mary!” and her eyes were opened and she realized Jesus was standing immediately before her.
Faithful ones, I declare to you as on the 1st Easter Sunday that Jesus Christ is risen today. Faithful ones, may our eyes be opened this Easter morning just as the women’s eyes were opened then. And may we spend the rest of our days looking for opportunities to ministry to our Risen Lord and Savior. Amen